One of the world´s authorities on influenza virus is visiting the International Vaccine. Professor Peter Palese, Chairman of the Department of Microbiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, will stay at the IVI from Tuesday to Friday to discuss his and IVI´s research programs on influenza virus vaccines.
Prof. Palese will give three lectures on influenza and vaccines: "Influenza Virus Pandemics: Past and Future" on December 6, which will provide an overall history and outlook of avian influenza pandemics; "Interferon-Antagonists of RNA Viruses" on December 7; and "Can We Make Better Influenza Virus Vaccines?" on December 8. These lectures are open to the public (For inquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
Prof. Palese has devoted much of his career to studying viruses and virus genetics. His scientific achievements include seminal studies on the mechanisms of replication of RNA viruses, especially influenza viruses. He established the first genetic maps for influenza A, B and C viruses, identified the function of several viral genes, and defined the mechanism of action of several neuraminidase inhibitors, which are antiviral drugs now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Prof. Palese also pioneered the field of reverse genetics for negative strand RNA viruses, which allows the introduction of site-specific mutations into the genomes of these viruses. This technique is crucial for the study of the structure/function relationships of viral genes, for investigation of viral pathogenicity and for development and manufacture of influenza virus vaccines. An improvement of the technique has been effectively used to reconstruct and study the pathogenicity of the highly virulent but extinct 1918 pandemic influenza virus, which caused an estimated 20 million deaths world-wide.
Prof. Palese is a member of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States since 2000, and an editor for the Journal of Virology.
Prof. Palese is the fifth scientist to visit the IVI as part of the Scholars in Residence program, after Dr. Pearay Ogra at State University of New York, Buffalo; Dr. Ira Longini, University of Washington; Dr. John Schiller of the US National Institutes of Health; and Dr. John Robbins, US NIH. This program is sponsored by Merck and aims to promote exchanges between the IVI and the world´s leading centers of vaccinology.
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI), based in Seoul, Korea, is the world´s only international organization devoted exclusively to developing and introducing new-generation vaccines to protect the world´s poorest people, especially children in developing countries. Established at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme, the IVI operates under a treaty signed by 38 countries and the World Health Organization, and conducts research in more than 20 countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.